YouGov’s pre-close update indicates trading in line to meet the full-year target of its growth plan, with a heavier weighting towards H2. This reflects several larger, more strategic projects won by Data Products and Custom Research over autumn and winter to date, which will start to contribute in H221 and provide good momentum into FY22. H121 results will show a pick-up in Data Services as clients looked to tactical projects to inform their marketing strategies. Our full-year forecasts are unchanged except for a minor adjustment to the share count. YouGov is valued towards the top of its peer set, reflecting its strong market positioning, attractive cash generation and cash-positive balance sheet.
Companies: YouGov plc
YouGov’s capital markets event cast the spotlight on the next generation of its client offering, focusing on YouGov Direct, YouGov Chat and YouGov Safe. All of these are already being rolled out commercially. They clearly show the direction of travel to enable the group to scale more effectively and efficiently. All are predicated on the YouGov member being the data owner and granting explicit permission for how that data is used. No new financial information was disclosed, and our forecasts are unchanged.
Full year results were in line with the July trading update, a little ahead of our published estimates, with revenues up 12% and adjusted operating profit up 18%. Data Products (one-third of group revenue) performed particularly well, with underlying revenues up 21% and operating margin up 70bp to 35.0%. A strong balance sheet (net cash of £35.3m) supports stepped-up investment in both technology and in panel, underpinning the ambitious targets set out for the three remaining years of management’s five-year plan. The valuation remains at the high end of the range of peers.
AEX Gold (AEXG.L) has joined AIM alongside a £42.5m placing at 45p. Mkt Cap £79.7m. The Company, led by CEO Eldur Ólafsson, has established the largest land package of gold assets in Greenland with a current portfolio of licences covering 3,356 square kilometres, in the two known gold belts in Southern Greenland, the Nanortalik and Tartoq gold belts. Nalunaq is a high-grade gold asset with an updated Inferred Mineral Resource covering 422,770 tonnes at 18.5 grams per tonne of gold, or 250,970 ounces of gold, which covers the area in and around the historical mine. AEX has an existing listing on the TSX Venture Exchange
Companies: PYC THR PRP GDP YOU BBB MRL ONC RENE
YouGov’s year-end update indicates that performance has been in line with expectations and it has yet to see any material impact from COVID-19. Our estimates are unchanged ahead of results on 6 October. Data Products remains the main driver, notably in its more established UK and US markets, as brands keep close track of their standing with customers. The group’s wide spread of sector verticals will have been helpful, with strong tech and e-commerce offsetting weaker retail performance. YouGov’s share price has recovered from the initial pandemic mark-down, with the rating now reflecting its premium growth and strong market positioning.
YouGov’s online business model and direct panel relationships give it a clear advantage through lockdown. Both state and commercial interests have an increased need to gauge and track shifts in consumer attitudes, which YouGov is well placed to monitor through its growing suite of products and services. The group has a strong, cash-positive balance sheet and a major asset in its connected data library, termed the YouGov Cube, which now contains over 15 years of data. YouGov’s share price has recovered from the mark-down at the earlier stage of the pandemic, with the rating reflecting its premium growth and strong market positioning.
YouGov has updated on good H120 figures, with underlying revenue up 15% and adjusted operating margins increasing from 13% to 15% as the mix shifts further to the higher-margin Data Products segment. The group had cash of £27.2m at end January (lease liabilities only). With an online culture since the group’s inception 20 years ago, it is better placed than many to satisfy the increased desire to understand what is happening in populations by corporate and state at this time of uncertainty. We have reflected a more cautious outlook for the remainder of the year and will revert with FY21 estimates when the outlook is clearer.
YouGov’s H1 trading update confirms that the group is on track to meet management expectations for the year and our forecasts are unchanged. Data Products remains the driving force behind the overall progress, with the US and the UK markets highlighted, despite these markets being the longer-established in the group. Management’s five-year plan to FY23 targets doubling both revenue and adjusted operating profit margin, as well as achieving a 30% CAGR in EPS (25% EPS CAGR in the earlier plan). In this context, the valuation premium to slower-growing peers looks well underpinned.
YouGov’s final results to end July showed strong revenue growth (+10% underlying) and a 200bp increase in operating margins. The continuing drive is on growing Data Products and Services and focusing Custom Research on more profitable business. The ambitious targets to improve profitability set in the original five-year plan have been met. The new five-year plan to FY23 targets doubling both revenue and adjusted operating profit margin, as well as achieving a 30% CAGR in EPS (25% EPS CAGR in the earlier plan). In this context, the valuation premium to slower-growing peers looks well underpinned.
YouGov continues to develop its data, platform and tools to address significant opportunities to embed in clients’ workflows, particularly within the marketing segment. Its new five-year growth plan to FY23 targets building out its panel, data and client base globally, doubling group revenue and operating margin and achieving a CAGR of over 30% for EPS. Given the investment required to achieve this, we expect progress towards these targets to be weighted to the latter part of the period. Strong share price performance puts the rating (on unchanged estimates) at the top of the global peer range and reflects the scale of management’s ambitions.
As indicated at January’s trading update, YouGov had a strong H119. 18% revenue growth (10% underlying) blends +34% from Products & Services with +4% from Custom. More notable, though, is the step up in adjusted operating margin from 16% in H118 to 19% as the syndicated data model starts to show its value. Management has outlined ambitious new, five-year targets; looking to double group revenue and operating margin and achieve a CAGR of over 30% for EPS. With the continuing investment requirement, we expect stronger progress towards these targets in the second half of the period. Nevertheless, they underpin the valuation.
The pre-close update for the six months to end January indicates a good H1, driven by continued progress in Data Products & Services (dominated by BrandIndex and Profiles) and margin improvement in Custom Research. FY19e results are now likely to come in ‘slightly ahead’ of market expectations. The group has a CMD scheduled for 6 February and will report interim figures on 2 April. The share price puts YouGov on a rating well ahead of sector peers, but considerably below the listed SaaS subscription businesses with which it has increasing commonality.
YouGov has delivered strong results that demonstrate the success of its shift in its business model towards a real-time data analytics business with a growing subscription revenue base. It continues to innovate, developing new products and services and augmenting the existing offering and is further expanding its geographic reach, with the investment supported by the cash-rich balance sheet. A new five-year plan is expected to be set out in Spring 2019 and we anticipate that this will also have ambitious targets for growth and earnings that will support the premium rating.
YouGov’s pre-close trading update indicates that it will have outperformed market estimates for the year ended July, with particularly strong growth from the UK and US. We have raised our numbers to reflect this and May’s acquisition of SMG Insight. The focus on driving higher-margin products and services is showing through in the numbers and the improving quality of earnings. The custom business is being reoriented towards more scalable and repeatable work, also with a beneficial impact on margin. The premium rating reflects the growth record and positive outlook.
YouGov’s strategy to focus on its scalable products and services is paying back handsomely in revenue growth and margin improvement. Margin is being further boosted by the reorientation of custom business to greater use of data already held in the Cube, the group’s multi-dimensional database. We have edged our FY18 and FY19 earnings forecasts up 4-7% to reflect the strong H1. The £21m of net cash (end January) is being used to fund continuing investment in panel, applications and new markets. It also supports a progressive dividend and allows for bolt-on acquisitions. The premium rating reflects the growth record and positive outlook.
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Companies: Kape Technologies Plc
Reach’s prelims were ahead of N1S estimates for H2 sales and EBITDA (1% and 3% resp.) and showed excellent progress with both the customer value strategy (‘CVS’) and business transformation agenda. Whilst FY’20 Group sales were 15% y/y lower as CV19 impacted Print, Digital revenue grew +11% y/y to £118m (H2: +20% to £70m), supported by a strong uptick in user engagement with content (page views/user: +39% y/y) and further progress in signing up new registered users (Feb’21: 5.8m; Dec’20: 5.0m; Dec’19: 0.7m). Meanwhile quick action to mitigate CV19 impact on Print volumes and execution on the business transformation plan saw AOP margins increase 50bps y/y, with Group H2 AOP down just 4% y/y (FY’20: -13%). Looking ahead, there were highly encouraging results from initial campaigns on the Group’s ReachID platform (+10%-40% uplift in click-through rates on early campaigns), whilst further cost savings of £11m are announced through rationalisation of the Group’s Print sites. Strong cash performance was reflected in £42m of cash inflow (post pension and historic legal and contractual payments), which gives management confidence to declare a final cash dividend of 4.26p/share. The path to sustainable top-line and FCF growth remain very much open, with FY’21E adj FCF of £120m generating an 11% yield at current valuation.
Companies: Reach plc
CentralNic delivered FY20 revenues of US$241.2m, a 121% y-o-y increase (FY19: US$109.2m). Adjusted EBITDA rose 71% to US$30.6m (FY19: US$17.9m), supported by the acquisitions completed in FY19 and FY20 and led by growth in Monetisation. On a pro forma basis, adjusting for the Codewise acquisition, the group delivered 9% organic revenue growth in FY20. In FY21, the group has already completed two acquisitions (SafeBrands and Wando) and secured €60m of additional bond headroom from shareholders, of which €15m has been placed to fund Wando and future M&A deals. On the basis of the strong FY20 results, with the group trading in line with management’s expectations ytd, we have updated our forecasts. The valuation continues to look attractive versus peers.
Companies: CentralNic Group Plc
Kape has issued a trading update for what was a very productive year for the Group and in which it exhibited a strong trading performance. Revenue for FY 2020E is expected to be at the top end of the expected range while Adjusted EBITDA is ahead of guidance. We increase our estimates by 1% and 8% respectively to be in line with the anticipated outturn for the year. It now has around 2.5m paying subscribers across its core markets of North America and Europe. Kape also completed the integration of Private Internet Access (PIA) ahead of schedule and launched new products, including its privacy suite. Kape expects to increase R&D spending further in FY 2021E to build on the successful additions to its product range and customer experience. With good momentum going into FY 2021E, the Group continues to demonstrate its ability to drive customer numbers and retention through the execution of a clear strategy for meeting the growing demand from consumers for digital privacy and security solutions.
Upon Admission to AIM, Nightcap will acquire The London Cocktail Club Limited (the "London Cocktail Club"), which is an award winning independent operator of ten individually themed cocktail bars in nine London locations and one location in Bristol. Offer TBC. HSS Hire Group, HSS.L transfer from Main to Aim. Mkt Cap c. £70m. Recently raised £52.6m. Leading supplier of tool and equipment for hire in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has provided equipment hire services in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on the B2B market. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Companies: PMI RMM SUN BOIL ITM TRMR MLVN 88E IME ANP
Reach plc, the market-leading commercial regional and national news publisher, is approaching a positive revenue inflection point which is transformational to perceptions of the Group. With the 5th largest digital unique visitor base (>40m) in the UK (behind the likes of Facebook and Google), the Group has a material, yet currently under-exploited opportunity which could see Digital revenues double on a 4-year view. Among initiatives to unlock value, new management is focused on granular data capture, audience stratification, and targeted, highly-relevant content dissemination, with successful execution already manifesting itself in rising user engagement. Cost efficiencies and a mix shift towards Digital support margin expansion, and are forecast to improve already attractive FCF margins (FY’20E: 19%). A progressive dividend (N1S FY’21 DPS: 6.8p) augments the investment case whilst an intrinsic value of 300p/share offers significant upside potential.
In Q3 20, the decrease in total advertising revenue slowed significantly (-7% vs -43% in Q2 20, of which -42% in June). For Q4 20, ITV is expecting a slight increase yoy, assuming no prolongation of the containment into December. ITV Studios’ revenue dropped by 19% at constant currency in 9m19 (vs -17% in H1 20). The return to full capacity is challenging due to the second lockdown so that both revenue and the EBITA margin should be impacted in Q4 20.
Companies: ITV PLC
The MISSION’s trading update indicates the group had a comfortably better Q4 than expected, with the full-year PBT over £1m, against our forecast £0.5m. Cash performance was significantly ahead, with a year-end net debt position of £1.3m allowing the payment of the delayed final 1.53p dividend from FY19. We will update our FY20 numbers with the full results in April. We have trimmed our FY21 forecast revenue by 7.5% to reflect the ongoing impact of the pandemic in H121, reducing PBT from £9.0m to £7.1m. We also publish our first thoughts on FY22, on an improving trend. The shares remain priced at a significant discount to peers on earnings multiples.
Companies: Mission Group Plc
4imprint’s trading update indicates that order intake in Q4 was a little better than we had anticipated. Unaudited FY20 revenue was reported at c $560m, or 5% above our prior forecast. We remain circumspect around trading prospects for FY21, given the impact of the pandemic on corporate America and leave our forecast unchanged for now. The indicated year-end net cash balance at $39.8m (excluding lease debt) was well ahead of our projected figure ($22.5m in our modelling), and close to the $40.1m reported in October, implying that cash collections have held up strongly. We continue to view 4imprint as a high-quality investment proposition.
Companies: 4imprint Group plc
Interims (six months to September) demonstrate resilient revenue of £4.4m, adjusted EBITDA profitability at £0.3m (especially impressive vs £0.5m for 15m to FY20), and cash of £1.2m. Current cash of £1.3m is reassuring, with end January expected to be the cash low point for the year. Despite COVID pressure on the customer base, AIM membership remained steady at 2,085 at 1 January (September 2020: 2,103, March 2020: 2,276) and preferred supplier numbers were unshaken at 175. Purchase orders processed through the system are regaining strength, returning to 70% of original management volume expectations, while AIM Capital Solutions, and the associated premium member benefits, gains momentum. While we are not yet free of COVID, the group demonstrated action and resilience in this key period from March to September where the pandemic’s impact was most novel and most brutal – and with the current cash balance, the trading update delivers optimism for the long term. Forecasts remains suspended, and we look forward to further updates.
Companies: Altitude Group plc
CentralNic released unaudited preliminary 2020 results showing pro forma 9% revenue growth, ahead of expectations (ZC: 4%). The company continues to take market share in a growing market. EBITDA was in line with consensus expectations but below our top of consensus forecasts. CNIC is increasing investment in new products and integration, which we expect to continue in 2021 and provide net returns in 2022. The company’s results demonstrate its ability to integrate, scale and extract synergies from acquisitions. We see potential earnings upside from the Codewise acquisition and expect CNIC to deliver further significant earnings accretive acquisitions in 2021.